Guardian underlying losses remain above £19m despite 20 per cent digital revenue growth

  • GNM underlying losses reduced from £19.4m to £19.1m
  • GNM claims 20 per cent digital revenue growth to £82.1m
  • GMG revenue £214.6m, up from £209m, £17.6m pre-tax loss
  • GMG operating losses up from £40.8m to £45.3m
  • GMG claims reserves of £838.3m – could rise to more than £1bn with potential sale of Top Right Group stake
  • Katharine Viner's salary revealed as £340,000

Guardian News and Media, publisher of The Guardian, Observer and TheGuardian.com, reduced its underlying losses from £19.4m to £19.1m in the 2014/15 financial year, according to its results.

GNM, part of Guardian Media Group, claimed a digital revenue growth of 20 per cent, from £68.3m in 2013/14 to £82.1m in the year to 29 March.

GMG's overall group revenue was £214.6m, up from £209m. The group recorded a pre-tax loss of £17.6m for the 2014/15 year. This was down from a £549.2m profit in the year GMG sold its 50.1 per cent stake in Trader Media Group for £619m.

GMG’s cash and investment fund stood at £838.3m at the end of the financial year, compared with £842.7m in 2013/14. The figure in 2012/13, before the Trader Media sale, was £253.7m.

GMG's operating loss increased from £40.8m to £45.3m in the year, with the results saying this reflected  "continued investment in developing the GNM business". This was offset, however, by the group's 33.1 per cent stake in Top Right Group, which brought in a profit of £22m, up from £16.8m.

The Guardian reports that GMG is considering selling its Top Right stake. It reported that Top Right "could be valued at as much as £1.2bn", but with £400m debt. This would mean GMG's stake is worth around £250m. Adding this to the £838.3m cash and investment fund (reported above), GMG would have reserves of more than £1bn.

Since the end of the 2014/15 financial year, GNM has appointed a new editor-in-chief, with Katharine Viner replacing Alan Rusbridger, and chief executive, with David Pemsel coming in for Andrew Miller.

The results show that Rusbridger's total remuneration in the 2014/15 financial year was £492,000, up from £491,000. This included a base salary/ fees/ cash allowance payment of £395,000

Viner's salary, the results reveal, is £340,000.

Miller's total remuneration £955,000 – down from £2.16m in 2013/14, which included £1.4m from the Trader Media sale – included a base salary of £567,000. Pemsel's salary is £600,000, but with no opportunity to earn performance-related bonuses.

Pemsel, who took up his role on 1 July, said: “These results give us the confidence to invest further in the world-class journalism, digital innovation and growing international readership which has made the Guardian such a powerful global brand.

"That, in turn, will help deliver long-term financial and editorial sustainability.”

Neil Berkett, chair of GMG, said: “These full-year financial results show that the Group is on the right track by increasing revenues and narrowing our underlying operating loss. This is a very creditable performance following the transformation of our balance sheet, which was strengthened significantly by the disposal in 2014 of our stake in Trader Media Group.”

He added: “GMG will continue to innovate and expand internationally in the year ahead. This will include growth in our membership scheme and digital presence. Our ambitious programme will coincide with continuous cost discipline throughout the current financial year.”

Read the full results here.

Picture: Guardian offices (Reuters)

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